I completely forgot that I had this post ready to go. I guess that speaks volumes for the emotional scarring that took place from flying with 2 toddlers. Re-reading it to myself, I realized there is so much I didn't say however, I think I said enough. Listen to me!!!!
DO NOT TRAVEL WITH TODDLERS
The plane ride. I just paused for so long just starring at the screen and got bombarded by memories of the flying experience with Nola and Hazel. Let me just say it was an actual nightmare. Like a living breathing evil entity that rolled in and took over our lives.
Let me take you through.
We woke the kids up at 4am, to which they were surprisingly happy. Nola had the best bed head I've ever seen, like super volume and light curls. She was so excited to be up in the middle of the night. Perfect! A good sign at the time but I do remember thinking that this early wake up time was going to come back and bite us at some point (just want to note that).Hazel, who really does not like to be woken up, was also in a great mood. Perfect!
We drove through customs on our way to the airport. As the officer was asking our citizenship and collecting our passports, Nola reaches out her little arms and asked him for a "HUG." To which we laugh and he says that's the first time he's ever been offered a hug on the job. She's precious.
We arrive at the airport.
Let me take a second to say, I HATE FYLING. I hate planes, I'm not scared, I just can't stand the idea of being so trapped. Plus all the other fun things you have to deal with, cranky airline attendants, checking luggage that's 2 lbs over the allowable limit, carryon bags that are so heavy with who knows even what, security check points (take off my shoes - like really!), trying to find your gate (which is literally always the farthest possible distance from where you are at that moment), not getting a chance to pee because no matter how early you get the airport, there is always some unforeseen issue that promises to take up any extra time you have allotted for pee breaks and food pick up. If I didn't have such a passion for seeing new places, I would never get on another plane ever. LIKE EVER!
Ok so kids are at the airport. They are running free, trying to let them get some energy out of there systems before the flight so they'll sleep. It' s a fool proof plan - ahem. The girls were in heaven. Hazel was free to run wherever she wanted and Nola was free to drag her little body around on the ground. Perfect! Like I mean she laid on her back and pushed herself forward with her feet. Disgusting!
This is where it begins.
This child is an angel. She was such a good girl the whole time we traveled. She definitely had her moments but we all did. She could not be blamed at times for not wanting to go through the motions, none of us did. She was content to sit on the plane, eat her snacks, watch her movies and when she was tired, she rested her head on my arm and out she went. She slept so much of the time or just sat quietly and watched her movie. She's my favorite.
You know who's not my favorite? Toddlers. Period. But Nola she crossed a line. Don't let this sweet, happy, I'm-such-a-good-girl-sitting-here-doing-what-i-am-supposed-to look fool you in any way. This child was the devil on the plane and in the airport. I would have rather travelled with a wild badger in my carryon bag than this little stinker. Putting both the girls in one seat and buckling them in seemed to buy us the most time. The stewardess warned us that it wasn't the safest option, to which she received a blank stare and a promise of non-compliance from both Matt and I. We were both willing to take the risk in order to keep the sanity at a reasonable level.
Here's one of the only moments we smiled the entire plane ride. Nola was in heaven sitting right next to Hazel. Nowhere for Hazel to run meant she could hug her and kiss her as much as she wanted.
On the way home (and this pic is not from then - nobody was taking pics of that hot mess) Nola continued her nap strike. Which soon left her completely over-stimulated and waaaaaaaay over-tired. She would NOT be entertained with ANY of the toys, movies, snacks, iPods we brought. I had to take drastic measures. As soon as the drink service passed our seats, I hopped up and ran back to the galley. Nola had worked herself up into quite a state by this point. She was screaming pretty much at the top of her lungs, refusing to be held or rocked. Only freedom would do. So, I did what any parent would do?
I matched the vigour
Which meant I walked to the back of the plane, strapped my insanely angry, sweaty, trashy baby into a sling (while she was doing this cobra bendy thing with her body) and tried to match the intensity of her crazy by jumping as high and as fast and as hard as I could up and down. I matched the vigour. After about 10 jumps she calmed down. I did 10 more and then when I was just about dead a few more. She was finally quiet. I matched the vigour. I stood at the back of the plane rocking and patting her for the rest of the fight. Eventually she fell asleep. The flight attendants did not make me move until the last possible second, stretching the allowable limit of non-buckled in time, I am sure of it. They were angels and it turned out, great conversation for 2 hours.
We will UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES be flying anywhere with our children any time soon.
Please use this as a guide to your next flight with your 18 month old child. JUST DON'T DO IT!!!! You've been warned. Also, thanks to the person who defined "match the vigour" for me. I am forever changed.